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New Report Voices Local Views of the Future Landscape

Monday, September 3, 2018
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Voices from the Land

A new report released today by the Harvard Forest and the Science Policy Exchange, with support from Highstead and the Wildlands & Woodlands initiative, provides a stakeholder-driven approach for addressing the important question: What does the future hold for the New England landscape?

Voices from the Land: Listening to New Englanders' Views of the Future summarizes the perspectives of 169 New Englanders (gathered through interviews and workshops in each state) on future land development, conservation, agriculture, and timber harvest.

Interviewees showed a powerful attachment to the New England landscape and urgent concerns about whether current conservation and land-use planning activities are enough to keep pace with increasing development pressure, forest fragmentation, extreme weather, and changing economic pressures on landowners.

Commonalities in the stakeholders’ narratives formed the basis for 4 scenarios of future land use in New England, which are described in detail in the report. The scenarios provided parameters for a complex computer model -- developed at the Harvard Forest in Senior Ecologist Jonathan Thompson's lab -- analyzing 4 possible outcomes for land cover in New England through 2060.

Major support for this project was provided by three grants from the National Science Foundation (including the S3 RCN and Harvard Forest Long-Term Ecological Research Program), and Highstead.

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